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Israelite prophecy

General Characteristics: Classical prophecy is not soothsaying (clairvoyance; 1 Samuel 10:2, Samuel tells Saul where to find his missing donkeys). It includes a written’ (composed) work or book, such as the Book of Isaiah or Jeremiah. It stressesforth telling (addressing present ills) or foretelling, though the element of predicting the future in general terms is present (Isaiah 1:21 – 23, but compare Isaiah 49:1 – 6, the servantIsrael and his future role). There are figures such as Nathan (2 Samuel 7, 12), Elijah (1 Kings) and Elisha (2 Kings) whose activity was much like that of the classical prophets except that they did not compose a book of prophecy. Theprophetsin the Hebrew Bible is a term designating the following books: Joshua, Judges, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the 12minor prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi).

Commonalities: They are called by God to a difficult task (Isaiah 6, Jeremiah 1, and Amos 7:14-15). They are destined for a life of suffering (the life of Jeremiah). They are concerned with the holiness and uniqueness of the God of Israel (Isaiah 6). They are concerned with social justice (Isaiah 1:12-18, Amos 4:1, 5:12). They are poetically gifted (Isaiah 1:18-23, 5:1-7).

Key themes: A critique of Temple rituals and sacrifices (Amos 5:21-24) and conditional nature of Israel’s covenant with God (Isaiah 5:1-7). The rejection of popular eschatology – that God will rescue Israel in the end (Amos 5:18-20) and universalism: Israel as a light to the nations (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6). The clear-cut views on how the government (the monarch) should deal with international crises (Isaiah 7:1-9).

Filed by Frank at October 3rd, 2008 under Religion

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